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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by lasauge View Post
    Much as I sympathize with the desire to get people on bikes inexpensively, I can see it the other way too - if there are people willing to pay $1000+ for a commuter bike (and there are, apparently), why should a shop or manufacturer price their goods below what the market will bear? The higher-than-it-could-be prices on new bikes aren't all bad if they keep shops in business and mechanics employed.
    It's not so much the high prices I find unjust. It's the pricing that's designed to dissuade people from fixing their own bikes. Granted, if I am fixing bikes and selling them out of my garage and using you as a low-cost parts supplier, it puts you at a disadvantage. On the other hand, though, should bike shops and suppliers cartel to exclude free agents from fixing bikes for personal use, resale, or both? Since I don't resell bikes, my main concern is with having difficulty getting simple, cheap, essential parts that are necessary to fix my own bikes.

    I'm jaded because I have experience playing both sides of the field, I run a small shop/sell used bikes out of my garage (just in my spare time, I have a regular job too) and it's a frustrating endeavor because the low prices of used bikes make it challenging to turn a profit that's even remotely commensurate for the labor hours invested. Obviously the profit margins are bigger on new bikes and high-volume sales, but still, bikes are cheap only when labor is cheap - why do you think pretty much everything made for bikes these days comes from China or Taiwan? As both a laborer, and someone who would also like to bring my non-wrenching skills to the bike industry someday, I take it as a good sign if people are willing to plunk down more money for bicycles.
    I have sometimes considered using my bike-repair skills to provide needy people with affordable bikes but at some point it occurred to me that it makes more sense to assist someone in fixing up their own bike than to do it for them for a profit (that is, if you're in it for the social benevolence and not for the money). Many people expect their bikes to be fixed for them and/or to have low-cost bikes available to buy and so they don't bother learning to take care of themselves (or in this case, their own bikes).

    Economics stratified markets into well-paying customers (who have more income to spend) and poorer customers with less income (or none). The only way to ever even begin approaching equality is for everyone to develop the skills to do things themselves and live by the fruits of their own labor. For this to be possible, certain basic materials are needed so parts-suppliers are a necessary component of a do-it-yourself public. Autoparts suppliers have retail distributors for parts but for some reason some bike mechanics (maybe not all?) prefer the idea of withholding parts for the sake of ensuring everyone hire them for their services.

  2. #52
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lasauge View Post
    Much as I sympathize with the desire to get people on bikes inexpensively, I can see it the other way too - if there are people willing to pay $1000+ for a commuter bike (and there are, apparently), why should a shop or manufacturer price their goods below what the market will bear? The higher-than-it-could-be prices on new bikes aren't all bad if they keep shops in business and mechanics employed.

    I'm jaded because I have experience playing both sides of the field, I run a small shop/sell used bikes out of my garage (just in my spare time, I have a regular job too) and it's a frustrating endeavor because the low prices of used bikes make it challenging to turn a profit that's even remotely commensurate for the labor hours invested. Obviously the profit margins are bigger on new bikes and high-volume sales, but still, bikes are cheap only when labor is cheap - why do you think pretty much everything made for bikes these days comes from China or Taiwan? As both a laborer, and someone who would also like to bring my non-wrenching skills to the bike industry someday, I take it as a good sign if people are willing to plunk down more money for bicycles.
    The cost of used bikes has gone up a lot around here. I used to buy entry level brand name bikes (Trek, Specialized, etc.) in very good condition for less than $150. Prices have almost doubled in just a couple years.

    You can find bargains. My son recently bought a nice Trek MTB at a yard sale for $15. It was stolen off our front porch. A couple weeks later, we saw the same bike at a local pawn shop marked at $300.


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  3. #53
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    Most months I spend nothing on transportation. Last I figured my monthly average is around $50. But this includes an overhaul of my primary commuters drive train every year which can cost upwards of $500(IGH setups cost a bit and I am HARD on them, killing in one year what should last 5-10). I simply time that so I can use my tax refund.

  4. #54
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harshbarj View Post
    Most months I spend nothing on transportation. Last I figured my monthly average is around $50. But this includes an overhaul of my primary commuters drive train every year which can cost upwards of $500(IGH setups cost a bit and I am HARD on them, killing in one year what should last 5-10). I simply time that so I can use my tax refund.
    What kind of IGH setup do you use? Seems unusually expensive to maintain.

  5. #55
    Senior Citizen lyeinyoureye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I'm not terribly interested in the details of your car expenses. I only asked because I was a little skeptical of the $1000 figure you reported.

    What are your bike costs? Almost everybody says bike commuting is cheaper than either cars or transit, as cooker mentioned above. Commuting 15 miles by bike might take a little more time than driving, but not a lot more time (assuming your circumstances are typical). And it's certainly time well spent if you love riding. Have you ever considered bike commuting?
    I can see that, however I am interested in playing devil's advocate, and also in correcting misconceptions. Like anything else, cars can be expensive, and they are in general more expensive than bikes and some forms of public transit, but they don't have to be as expensive as most people seem to think they are.

    My 30 mile RT commute wouldn't add that much time, maybe two and a half hours, which isn't as bad as the four + added by a bus, but thats still time I need because my circumstances aren't typical (I care for/maintain two disabled family members and their homes), and that time would also be compounded by the extra time I would need to dedicate to running errands. In the aggregate, I'd be looking at something like ~15 hours a week, which would make my responsibilities outside of work difficult if not impossible, although I would also be in great shape.

    With all that said, an e-bike would be the best of everything. High average speeds so I would still have time for my responsibilities outside of work, very low costs, probably only a hundred or so dollars per year higher than what I pay for my existing bikes, which is already less than $100 year (tires/tubes/lube), and as much exercise as I feel like putting up with.

  6. #56
    No one carries the DogBoy
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    I reformatted bbeasley's table so others could more easily read it.
    Code:
    Item            Life	Cost	      Cost per mile
    Bike	        10	 525	      0.024
    Fenders	        10	  60	      0.003
    Saddle 	         6	  45	      0.003
    Tires	       1.5	 124	      0.038
    Chain/Tubes    1.5	  50	      0.015
    Jacket	         4	  90	      0.010
    Shorts/Pants	 4	 200	      0.023
    Pedals	         6	  60	      0.005
    Shoes	         4	  80	      0.009
    Wheels	         5	 225	      0.020
    For me, being car-lite costs me money. I still have to pay registration & insurance on my car, so the only savings I get is on the lack of wear and tear on the car and the savings from burning fuel. My 2500 miles a year in the car would be at 20 mpg, and gas is about $3.50 a gallon, so $437 or so in savings. On the flip side, I like to tweak my bikes and have many bags/tires/bikes for different weather conditions. These have cost me a great deal of money. I'd say I'm probably several thousand in the hole even after primarily bike commuting for several years now. That said, my BP is great and I'm only barely obese compared to my father at this age having BP and cardiac concerns, and me being 40 lbs heavier prior to the bike commuting. So I probably have saved money in terms of future health costs. Still, the CEO of our household does not approve expenditures on a rationale of money saved vs. driving.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    What kind of IGH setup do you use? Seems unusually expensive to maintain.
    I change often. Started out with a 7-speed, went to 3, then up to 8. My 8-speed is already giving me issues so I can see a replacement in march already. All shimano parts. I just carry a LOT of stuff. It's not uncommon to need to haul 100lbs of stuff most weekends.

  8. #58
    Daily Rider Robert C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    OP here. I was intending this thread to be personal accounts of how much people spend on non-car transportation expenses. The purpose is to help people estimate what their expenses would be in various stages of being carlight or carfree.

    Please try to stay on topic.

    So do tell...how much do you spend on bikes and whatnot?
    But, it is not possible to consider the savings of living carfree without including opportunity cost of living carfree.

    I recently returned to the states, I would estimate $1200 on direct bike costs. However, there were a lot of job opportunities that I missed out on because I am carfree. I Finally found a job in another state. I am shipping my bike and trailer (about $120) along with some other stuff. Then I will fly, that will run another $500. Then, because I do not have the ability to transport stuff, when I get where I am going I will have to equip another home with stuff that I have purchased, and walked away from several times; that I will probably eventually walk away from these purchases too.

    Unless you live like a homeless person, living car free can be quite expensive when all of the parts are added in. Yes, one can eventually realize savings if a lot of stars align. However, if you are not one of the lucky ones (stable job in good location) it can be quite expensive. You really have to include opportunity cost.

    Going back to actual costs, the last time I moved shipping bikes was stupid expensive; so I took one as second bag (an extra $200) and left the other. On this trip the baggage is even tighter So i was going to leave it behind and just order a bike online. However, I found, and am going to try a discount shipper (uses FedEx). If all goes well the bike and trailer I already own will be waiting for me to reassemble when I arrive in Kansas.

    So:
    Bike ~ $900
    Trailer ~ $280
    assorted stuff ~ $50
    Extra Shipping ~ $130
    Last edited by Robert C; 07-25-14 at 12:38 PM.
    As a nation we still continue to enjoy a literally unprecedented prosperity; and it is probable that only reckless speculation and disregard of legitimate business methods on the part of the business world can materially mar this prosperity. Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth Annual Message, December 3, 1906

  9. #59
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    But, it is not possible to consider the savings of living carfree without including opportunity cost of living carfree.

    I recently returned to the states, I would estimate $1200 on direct bike costs. However, there were a lot of job opportunities that I missed out on because I am carfree. I Finally found a job in another state. I am shipping my bike and trailer (about $120) along with some other stuff. Then I will fly, that will run another $500. Then, because I do not have the ability to transport stuff, when I get where I am going I will have to equip another home with stuff that I have purchased, and walked away from several times; that I will probably eventually walk away from these purchases too.

    Unless you live like a homeless person, living car free can be quite expensive when all of the parts are added in. Yes, one can eventually realize savings if a lot of stars align. However, if you are not one of the lucky ones (stable job in good location) it can be quite expensive. You really have to include opportunity cost.

    Going back to actual costs, the last time I moved shipping bikes was stupid expensive; so I took one as second bag (an extra $200) and left the other. On this trip the baggage is even tighter So i was going to leave it behind and just order a bike online. However, I found, and am going to try a discount shipper (uses FedEx). If all goes well the bike and trailer I already own will be waiting for me to reassemble when I arrive in Kansas.

    So:
    Bike ~ $900
    Trailer ~ $280
    assorted stuff ~ $50
    Extra Shipping ~ $130
    It's incorrect to include opportunity costs as part of being carfree. If a good opportunity arises, people will take it--even if they have to buy a car. For example, if there is a good job that will increase my income by $10,000 if only I get a car--I will just get a car (as long as it costs less than $10,000). Being carfree will not cost me the job! Only a fool would pass up a good opportunity. If I turned down a job, it was because I didn't want the job--not because I was so devoted to being carfree no matter what comes up.

    You just can't count a "choice" as a "cost".

    In economics, "opportunity cost" refers only to irrevocable decisions. An example would be if you spent all of your money on Option A, so you couldn't afford to take advantage if a better Option B came along later. That would rarely, if ever, be the case if you decided to be carfree. A decision to be carfree is revocable--it can be changed at any time if a better opportunity (Option B) arises.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  10. #60
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harshbarj View Post
    I change often. Started out with a 7-speed, went to 3, then up to 8. My 8-speed is already giving me issues so I can see a replacement in march already. All shimano parts. I just carry a LOT of stuff. It's not uncommon to need to haul 100lbs of stuff most weekends.
    I wouldn't count swapping around between hubs as maintenance cost, that is more customization, like adding fancy wheels to a car then claiming it was part of the operating costs.

    I have one old 3 speed that probably has had $200 worth of total maintenance costs in 32 years. Bike has been ridden 35,000+ miles. Tires and brake blocks were my main wear out items. The rear cog was switched out when I moved to a hilly area and the chain has been replaced 3-4 times. That works out to $.006 a mile

    I do have other IGH bikes and spend money on them, but again it is customization not operating costs. I have a custom that I am building up that will have around $750 worth of parts on it, the frame cost ~$100.



    Aaron
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  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I wouldn't count swapping around between hubs as maintenance cost, that is more customization, like adding fancy wheels to a car then claiming it was part of the operating costs.

    I have one old 3 speed that probably has had $200 worth of total maintenance costs in 32 years. Bike has been ridden 35,000+ miles. Tires and brake blocks were my main wear out items. The rear cog was switched out when I moved to a hilly area and the chain has been replaced 3-4 times. That works out to $.006 a mile

    I do have other IGH bikes and spend money on them, but again it is customization not operating costs. I have a custom that I am building up that will have around $750 worth of parts on it, the frame cost ~$100.



    Aaron
    I would. As the previous hubs all died, or became otherwise not fully functional, that IS maintenance.

    Also money spent is money spent. It affects the budget all the same. Even if the other hubs were just fine it would still fall under maintenance as I am adding a new part to replace an old part. So I count my cup holder, my stereo, and other such things I have to replace now and then as maintenance.

  12. #62
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harshbarj View Post
    I would. As the previous hubs all died, or became otherwise not fully functional, that IS maintenance.

    Also money spent is money spent. It affects the budget all the same. Even if the other hubs were just fine it would still fall under maintenance as I am adding a new part to replace an old part. So I count my cup holder, my stereo, and other such things I have to replace now and then as maintenance.
    Fair enough. But wahoonc was talking about upgrading or customizing by replacing still serviceable parts. If you do that, you must also deduct the residual value of replaced parts that are still usable and could be resold.


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  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Fair enough. But wahoonc was talking about upgrading or customizing by replacing still serviceable parts. If you do that, you must also deduct the residual value of replaced parts that are still usable and could be resold.
    Actually he was talking about me switching hubs yearly.

  14. #64
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harshbarj View Post
    I would. As the previous hubs all died, or became otherwise not fully functional, that IS maintenance.

    Also money spent is money spent. It affects the budget all the same. Even if the other hubs were just fine it would still fall under maintenance as I am adding a new part to replace an old part. So I count my cup holder, my stereo, and other such things I have to replace now and then as maintenance.
    What are you doing to destroy hubs? I have yet to break any IG hub beyond repair (Shimano 333 being the exception). I currently have 4 bikes with IGH that I service that are daily riders, other than annual oil/grease on the newer Shimano ones they roll along on a daily basis, trouble free. The most trouble free and durable is the Sturmey-Archer AW 3 speed.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  15. #65
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    What are you doing to destroy hubs? I have yet to break any IG hub beyond repair (Shimano 333 being the exception). I currently have 4 bikes with IGH that I service that are daily riders, other than annual oil/grease on the newer Shimano ones they roll along on a daily basis, trouble free. The most trouble free and durable is the Sturmey-Archer AW 3 speed.

    Aaron
    Correct, that is why I previously queried the poster's frequency and expenses for IGH "maintenance." In my experience SRAM/Sachs 3, 5, 7 speed hubs are equally reliable w/o any yearly maintenance.

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    What are you doing to destroy hubs? I have yet to break any IG hub beyond repair (Shimano 333 being the exception). I currently have 4 bikes with IGH that I service that are daily riders, other than annual oil/grease on the newer Shimano ones they roll along on a daily basis, trouble free. The most trouble free and durable is the Sturmey-Archer AW 3 speed.

    Aaron
    Simply riding. I myself weigh WELL over 200lbs and regularly carry over 50lbs and can easily top 100lbs of stuff. I also have some monster hills that I need to climb and VERY harsh winters that then do in hubs that survive the summer.

    Can't really compare recreational riding to hard core utility riding. Much as a work truck will need more maintenance than your weekend joy ride.
    Last edited by harshbarj; 07-28-14 at 04:50 PM.

  17. #67
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harshbarj View Post
    Simply riding. I myself weigh WELL over 200lbs and regularly carry over 50lbs and can easily top 100lbs of stuff. I also have some monster hills that I need to climb and VERY harsh winters that then do in hubs that survive the summer.

    Can't really compare recreational riding to hard core utility riding. Much as a work truck will need more maintenance than your weekend joy ride.
    Lack of maintenance?

    I weigh over 200# also, and routinely carry 50# grocery loads. I just swapped out my Nexus 7 for a Nexus 8 because I could and like having one more low gear. I do annual routine maintenance on my hubs, I pull the innards, check for wear, oil, grease and reinstall. They last longer that way.

    I literally beat the living crap out of my 1971 Raleigh Sports, then my brother rode it for 3 more years with zero maintenance and managed to wreck the bike twice and the rear hub still works perfectly. I tore it down a couple of years ago and replaced the pawl springs just because.
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  18. #68
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    My son has a Roloff IGH and just loves it, never any problem, changes the oil once a year and beats the crap out of it year round for the last 5 years... Never a problem...
    He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination. I do like my beer, so sometimes I do end up leaning on the lamp-post...

  19. #69
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
    My son has a Roloff IGH and just loves it, never any problem, changes the oil once a year and beats the crap out of it year round for the last 5 years... Never a problem...
    Those are top of the line hubs with a price to match, however this is a case of you get what you pay for. I do agree they are all but indestructible. I am getting good service out of the current crop of SA, Shimano and Sachs hubs that I have.

    Aaron
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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  20. #70
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    On what line do I add in the health benefits and how much is that worth?

    How can you have 4 bikes that are daily riders? How does that work? 4 different family members?

    Who in their right mind sits around and calculates all this stuff? I'm too busy riding.....

    I know one thing for sure,I spend less money on my bike per year than my car insurance used to cost per year.I could buy a new bike every year.

    If I include my shop insurance,I could buy a fleet of new carbon fiber bicycles every year...
    Last edited by Booger1; 08-05-14 at 01:50 PM.
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  21. #71
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    Sometimes I must travel to the closest grocery store instead of the one several miles away. This small store charges between 30% and 300% more than the larger store. One snack I like is pizza. A Red Barron pizza at the larger store costs $3.50. At the closer store it costs $5.67. A can of beans at the large store costs 50 cents. At the small store it costs $1.29. Suffice it to say I don't often shop at the nearby store. There are times when it has a sale and their prices equal the regular prices of the larger store. At those times I will purchase regular items but only if I'm in there for something like a snack and happen to notice the sale. It helps me to buy items on sale at the nearby store so that when I go to the other one I can buy more items that otherwise would not fit into my backpack.

    When I had a dog it would cost me $35 plus tips to go to the veterinarian and back using a taxi.

    Since these extra costs are not regular or even fixed it is impossible to give an accurate account of how much being car free adds to my expenses. I can say that living car free and sharing a house with others has lowered my monthly expenditures to under $500 per month. Some people have car payments that are more than that.
    Last edited by Smallwheels; 08-05-14 at 04:11 PM.
    Smallwheels

    Take my stuff, please. I have way too much. My current goal is to have all of my possessions fit onto a large bicycle trailer. Really.

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